Before we start…
Let’s begin by saying this update was going to be completely positive. But with news today that Debenhams is set to liquidate, in the same week we learned Arcadia entered administration, it would be ungracious of me to gloss over the reality we face. Many have shown amazing resilience over the past year and I take my hat off to the small businesses that have continued through thick and thin to survive while established, but vulnerably short-sighted companies have teetered at the edge.
For a long time I’ve been saying businesses that operate on a local level are the backbone of the country’s economy, while large organisations that operate from the top down risk losing loyalty, interest and business from the general public. Recently we learned that our local Debenhams, a strong performing store, was being propped-up by the local council, offering rate-free periods to keep the anchor store with its massive city presence afloat. Today we learned that it will close along with 123 other UK stores.
If you’ve been affected by any of what I’m writing about, there’s financial and other help available from UK Government.
This month has been incredible. We’ve made good progress in working toward a viable site to use for our first neighbourhood, with some hints of opportunity in expanding into future projects once we’re up and running.
The Expressions of Interest to trade from FR8PK have been coming in thick and fast, with enough ‘oven ready’ enterprises to fill the entire ground level of the proposed site – this is exciting stuff! We’ve contacted those who’ve expressed an interest with the information we have to date and hope to share our proposed location once an agreement’s been made with the land owners. We can reveal that our first location is to be within the City Centre boundary.
As you may have guessed from our subtle feature image, we’re recruiting two Non-Executive Directors. These positions will create an advisory board that’ll take FR8PK to the level it needs to be at on opening its first neighbourhood. We’re offering a respectable package which will look to regularly remunerate Non-Execs once the neighbourhood is at initial capacity. You can find an application pack at our team page (click on the link in the Non-Executive Director box).
On a personal note…
We’ve done our share of virtual meetings this month and its probably fair to say that we’re all just hoping and praying for a magic wand to wave over us and let us go for a coffee instead of logging onto Teams. We’ll, we’re with you on that! The last few months have thrown us all off a bit, but looking to the future, with our plans to revolutionise eating, drinking, shopping and working, we’re optimistic of things being brought back toward ‘the norm’. We’ll come out of this more resilient.